Florida manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris) are exposed to many conditions in their habitat that may adversely impact health and impair immune function in this endangered species. In an effort to increase the current knowledge base regarding the manatee immune system, the production of an important reactive nitrogen intermediate, nitric oxide (NO), by manatee peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) was investigated. PBMC from healthy captive manatees were stimulated with LPS, IFN-γ, or TNF-α, either alone or in various combinations, with NO production assessed after 24, 48, 72, and 96 h of culture. NO production in response to LPS stimulation was significantly greater after 48, 72, or 96 h of culture compared to NO production after 24 h of culture. A specific inhibitor of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), l-NIL (l-N6-(1-iminoethyl)lysine), significantly decreased NO production by LPS-stimulated manatee PBMC. Manatee specific oligonucleotide primers for iNOS were designed to measure expression of relative amounts of mRNA in LPS-stimulated manatee PBMC from captive manatees. NO production by PBMC from manatees exposed to red tide toxins was analyzed, with significantly greater NO production by both unstimulated and LPS stimulated PBMC from red tide exposed compared with healthy captive or cold-stress manatees. Free-ranging manatees produced significantly lower amounts of nitric oxide compared to either captive or red tide rescued manatees. Results presented in this paper contribute to the current understanding of manatee immune function and represent the first report of nitric oxide production in the immune system of a marine mammal.
- Florida manatee
- Nitric oxide
- Trichechus manatus latirostris
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology